Marine Heat Wave
The waters off Sydney are approaching their hottest on record for January, with some swimmers and surfers saying the water already feels more like February and March (late in the southern summer) than early January. Satellite images indicate that the water is almost 5.5 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for the month.
University of New South Wales oceanographer Moninya Roughan says the abnormal heat is caused by a combination of overall global heating of the ocean, the current La Niña pushing warmer waters from the tropics southward and some unusual atmospheric conditions. “Marine heat waves are having severe consequences on ecosystems and they can kill habitats,” said Roughan.